The broad indices all ended with gains, as several economic releases indicated the U.S. housing market recovery was continuing, although the improvements were coming at a slower pace.
The Census Bureau on Tuesday said sales of new single-family homes in the United States declined 3.3% from January to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 440,000 in February. Economists polled by Thomson Reuters on average had estimated the February sales pace would be 446,000 units. The pace of sales in February was down 1.1% from a year earlier.
The Case-Shiller 20-city home price index for January showed a very slight decline from January but was up 12.2% from a year earlier, following a year-over-year rise of 13.4% in December.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency -- the regulator of government sponsored mortgage entities Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- said its House Price Index rose 0.5% in January on a seasonally adjusted basis, and that the index had risen during 23 of the last 24 months. The only month for which the index declined over that period was November 2013.
Also on Tuesday, the Conference Board said its Consumer Confidence Index rose to 82.3 in March from 78.3 in February The March reading was the highest for the index since January 2008.
In his firm's economic notes on Tuesday, Deutsche Bank chief U.S. economist Joseph LaVorgna wrote that rising equity values had contributed to a significant strengthening of household finances in the U.S., with "only a small increase in household indebtedness."